Government’s new housing rules: what it means for Auckland

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This consultation closed on 9 May 2022. Thank you for having your say.

We sought feedback on the proposed changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan that we have scope to make limited decisions on. We did not seek feedback on the mandatory changes the Government has directed us to make, such as having walkable catchments or six-storey building heights. See the Government’s new housing rules: What it means for Auckland Consultation Document for detailed information.

We received 7,860 pieces of feedback. These came via our online feedback forms, at virtual Have Your Say events and through email.

We also held 4 online and 2 in-person information sessions where members of the public could hear from the planning team and ask questions before providing feedback.

To view a detailed summary of the consultation feedback read the Summary of Feedback Report.

If you have any questions related to this project, please email us at unitaryplan@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

For more information about central government's requirements click here.

What happens next

  • All feedback will be reviewed to help inform our final proposed changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan.
  • In August 2022, you can make a submission on the publicly notified plan change so that your views are considered during the statutory decision-making process. We must publicly notify the plan change by 20 August 2022.
  • Once the submissions process has closed, an Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) will consider all submissions and hear directly from people who submitted. They will then make recommendations to us on the necessary changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan.
  • We must then decide to accept or reject the IHP recommendations. If a recommendation is rejected, the Minister for the Environment makes the final decision.
  • This statutory process does not allow for appeals to the Environment Court.

This consultation closed on 9 May 2022. Thank you for having your say.

We sought feedback on the proposed changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan that we have scope to make limited decisions on. We did not seek feedback on the mandatory changes the Government has directed us to make, such as having walkable catchments or six-storey building heights. See the Government’s new housing rules: What it means for Auckland Consultation Document for detailed information.

We received 7,860 pieces of feedback. These came via our online feedback forms, at virtual Have Your Say events and through email.

We also held 4 online and 2 in-person information sessions where members of the public could hear from the planning team and ask questions before providing feedback.

To view a detailed summary of the consultation feedback read the Summary of Feedback Report.

If you have any questions related to this project, please email us at unitaryplan@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

For more information about central government's requirements click here.

What happens next

  • All feedback will be reviewed to help inform our final proposed changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan.
  • In August 2022, you can make a submission on the publicly notified plan change so that your views are considered during the statutory decision-making process. We must publicly notify the plan change by 20 August 2022.
  • Once the submissions process has closed, an Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) will consider all submissions and hear directly from people who submitted. They will then make recommendations to us on the necessary changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan.
  • We must then decide to accept or reject the IHP recommendations. If a recommendation is rejected, the Minister for the Environment makes the final decision.
  • This statutory process does not allow for appeals to the Environment Court.
  • Government's new housing rules: what it means for Auckland

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    Changing the way Auckland grows

    Over the past few years, central government has taken a much stronger role in planning for the growth of New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing cities.

    This means new rules enabling more higher-density housing.

    The government’s changes will enable higher-density housing, such as apartments and townhouses, across our city including in areas close to public transport and urban centres with shops, jobs and community services.


    Understanding the new rules

    There are two significant central government planning reforms that we are required to implement.

    1. The National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) was introduced in August 2020. For Tāmaki Makaurau, it requires us to enable greater housing density – with buildings of six storeys or more within walkable distances to our city centre, our ten metropolitan centres, and rapid transit stops (train stations and rapid busway stops). Greater building heights and density is also required within and around neighbourhood, local and town centres across Auckland.
    2. The government’s Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) allow three homes of up to three storeys to be built on most residential sites without a resource consent. The MDRS changes are part of the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021. The law requires us to enable a greater supply of housing. The Act also requires us to replace our design rules for developments, including height-to-boundary ratios and outdoor space provisions.


    What these changes could mean for our city

    While the NPS-UD focuses on housing of six storeys or more in and around our largest urban centres and rapid transit stops, the MDRS enables medium density housing (up to three storeys) to be built on most residential sites across the city.

    The requirements from the MDRS and NPS-UD combined will mean much of Auckland’s urban area will enable medium and high density housing and there will be changes to the rules for how properties can be developed (land zoning).


    Implementing the new rules

    The changes set out in the NPS-UD and the MDRS are not optional. By law, we must change the Auckland Unitary Plan (our planning rulebook) to put these new rules in place.

    However, the NPS-UD allows us to make some limited decisions to help shape the future of our city.

    We can decide:

    • The distances of walkable catchments where buildings of six storeys or more are required. These are the areas around the city centre, rapid transit stops, and the ten metropolitan centres (Albany, Takapuna, Westgate, Henderson, New Lynn, Newmarket, Sylvia Park, Manukau, Botany and Papakura).
    • The building heights and density to enable within and next to other suburban centres – neighbourhoods centres, local centres, and town centres.
    • The “qualifying matters” that will apply in Auckland, or the characteristics within some areas that may allow the council to modify (or limit) required building heights and density. Qualifying matters may include such reasons as protecting special character and public open space.


    Central government has already identified a number of qualifying matters. The council is also allowed to include other ‘qualifying matters’ that are important for our city.

Page last updated: 17 Jun 2022, 09:28 AM